Advances in LGBTQ rights in the recent past—marriage equality, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and the expansion of hate crimes legislation—have been accompanied by a rise in attacks against trans, queer and/or gender-nonconforming people of color. In Atmospheres of Violence, theorist and organizer Eric A. Stanley shows how this seeming contradiction reveals the central role of racialized and gendered violence in the United States. Rather than suggesting that such violence is evidence of individual phobias, Stanley shows how it is a structuring antagonism in our social world. Drawing on an archive of suicide notes, AIDS activist histories, surveillance tapes, and prison interviews, they offer a theory of anti-trans/queer violence in which inclusion and recognition are forms of harm rather than remedies to it. In calling for trans/queer organizing and worldmaking beyond these forms, Stanley points to abolitionist ways of life that might offer livable futures.
“Eric A. Stanley’s Atmospheres of Violence animates trans/queer, young queer, and racially dominated lives never quite stamped out by a brittle white supremacist egosystem. Written with tenderness and passionate thunder, the book’s brilliant storytelling circulates grief and hope for the governed who remain alive and ungovernable. Throughout, Stanley offers vital pedagogies of truancy and wicked survival for potential collective life.” — Lauren Berlant, author of Cruel Optimism
“Atmospheres of Violence offers a generous and generative reminder that queer and trans lives have always been bigger and more brilliant than the deadly state that tries to frighten and cajole us. Out of a devastating archive, Eric A. Stanley’s queer and trans stories rise beyond assimilation, honoring our gorgeous survival and refusals as resistance.” — Tourmaline, artist, activist, and writer
Out October 2017, Trap Doors: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility (MIT Press), edited by Reina Gossett, Eric A. Stanley and Johanna Burton. With writing/ thinking/ art by Lexi Adsit, Sara Ahmed, Nicole Archer, Kai Lumumba Barrow, Johanna Burton, micha cárdenas, Mel Y. Chen, Grace Dunham, Treva Ellison, Sydney Freeland, Che Gossett, Reina Gossett, Stamatina Gregory, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Robert Hamblin, Eva Hayward, Juliana Huxtable, Yve Laris Cohen, Abram J. Lewis, Heather Love, Park McArthur, CeCe McDonald, Toshio Meronek, Fred Moten, Tavia Nyong’o, Morgan M. Page, Roy Pérez, Dean Spade, Eric A. Stanley, Jeannine Tang, Wu Tsang, Jeanne Vaccaro, Chris E. Vargas, Geo Wyeth, Kalaniopua Young, Constantina Zavitsanos.
Check out two new reviews of the second edition of Captive Genders. The first is O’Brien on Stanley and Smith, ‘Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex’ by Michelle E. O’Brien and the second is The Forgotten Ones: Queer and Trans Lives in the Prison System by Grace Dunham which appears in The New Yorker.
Chris Vargas and I will be screening Criminal Queers at the University of Chicago on Thursday, February 25, 2016, 7:00 PM at the Logan Center, Screening Room 201. The event is free and open to the public and will be followed by a conversation with Chris, Eric and Professor Lauren Berlant.
On April 9, 2016 I will be giving the keynote address for Queer Death, De(con)struction, and Contagion: Affective Rhythms in Interdisciplinary Studies the inaugural Queer Studies Symposium at the University of California, Merced.
We are so excited that AK Press will be publishing the second, revised, and expanded edition of Captive Genders in October 2015. Along with all the brilliance of the first edition, it will include a new foreword by abolitionist and trans revolutionary CeCe McDonald which explores the importance radical books like Captive Genders played for her during her incarceration. From her prison cell, Chelsea E. Manning wrote “On the Intersection of the Military and the Prison Industrial Complex,” which thinks about the relationship between and military and the prison system. TGIJP Executive Director Janetta Johnson and journalist Toshio Meronek wrote, “Custody’s Long Shadow: Reentry Support as Abolitionist Work,” which argues that supporting people after they are released is vital to abolition. Radical Native transgender activist-scholar Kalaniopua Young wrote, “From a Native Trans Daughter: Carceral Refusal, Settler Colonialism, Re-routing the Roots of an Indigenous Abolitionist Imaginary,” which brings into focus the unsettled histories of colonialism, forced gender normativity, and prison.
The powerful analysis and compelling arguments in this collection force readers to conclude that the political and theoretical connection between prison abolition and trans and queer liberation is fundamental to social transformation and justice. –Beth E. Ritchie author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation
Captive Genders reminds and instructs that life is about relationships and desires free from neglect and repression, gendered constraints, policing and brutality, and disappearance. The anthology contributors share transformational insights, mini-memoirs, analyses and theories about captivity. Their writings lead and nurture us to a deeper understanding and struggle for justice with freedom and peace. –Joy James, author of Seeking the Beloved Community
Captive Genders is an essential book that brings home that trans and gender non-conforming lives are deeply structured by the prison, that violence can never be an antidote to violence, that abolition must extend to the gender binary, and that formerly incarcerated Black trans women will lead the way. –Jin Haritaworn, author of Queer Lovers and Hateful Others: Regenerating Violent Times and Places
We will be doing a few book related events to celebrate the second edition. If you would like to help bring us to your city/town hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out this new interview, “The Filmmakers Behind ‘Criminal Queers’ Explain Why “Queer Liberation is Prison Abolition,” Toshio Meronek did for In These Times about Criminal Queers, making films with no budget and trans representation.
As part of “Material Conditions: Gender, Sexuality, and Capitalism” I’ll be giving a keynote, “Blood Lines: AIDS, Affective Accumulation, and Viral Labor” on Friday March 13, 2015 at 7pm, Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR. The conference is free and open to the public.